Virological diagnosis of respiratory virus infection in patients attending an emergency department during the influenza season

Abstract number: P1220

Pierangeli A., Scagnolari C., Trombetti S., Gentile M., Rizzo B., Spina M.T., Iudicello A., Bertazzoni G., Antonelli G.

Objectives: The aim was to investigate the burden of influenza and influenza-like respiratory illness in a hospital emergency department (ED) during the seasonal influenza months.

Methods: Consecutive patients attending an ED during February and March were enrolled within the framework of a respiratory infection surveillance project; 103 nasopharyngeal washes were tested for several common respiratory viruses using PCR-based methods.

Results: Influenza A viruses were detected in 25/103 samples (24%) whereas a rapid influenza test was positive in only 1/31 samples tested. Rhinovirus was detected in 15% of recruited patients, respiratory syncytial virus in only one, and influenza B was not detected. Only 16% of influenza A infections matched the influenza-like illness case definition at ED admission, whereas 19% of rhinovirus-infected individuals would have been diagnosed as having influenza-like illnesses.

Conclusion: Data suggest that triage of influenza cases based on syndromic occurrence of influenza would be insufficient and unsuitable for containing influenza virus spread during pandemic alerts, and could also lead to unnecessary isolation of patients infected with other respiratory viruses. The application of broader criteria at triage followed by timely molecular tests for the most common respiratory viruses could be effective in preventing transmission of new respiratory agents and in appropriate case management.

Session Details

Date: 10/04/2010
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: Abstracts 20th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Location: Vienna, Austria, 10 - 13 April 2010
Presentation type:
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